Chives

Acorn Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 acorn squash (peeled, seeded and cut into large cubes)

  • 1 onion (diced)

  • 2 carrots (sliced)

  • chili flakes (to taste)

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 5 cups water (plus more if needed)

  • creme fraiche (to serve)

  • chives (minced, to serve)

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

  • extra-virgin olive oil

PREPARATION:

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the squash, onion, carrot, chili flakes, nutmeg, and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables have broken down a bit and are soft. 

  2. Add the garlic and cook for one minute longer. Add the water and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes more. 

  3. Blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning. 

  4. Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of chives.

Stuffed Pumpkin

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

  • 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

  • 2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped

  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped

  • About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

  • About 1/3 cup heavy cream

  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

PREPARATION:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you'll have to serve it from the pot—which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn't so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I've always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I've been lucky.

  2. Using a very sturdy knife—and caution—cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween Jack-o-Lantern). It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot.

  3. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper—you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure—and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little—you don't want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (It's hard to go wrong here.)

  4. Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.

  5. When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully—it's heavy, hot, and wobbly—bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.

    Serving:You have a choice—you can either spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful, or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I'm a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls, it's just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

    Storing: It's really best to eat this as soon as it's ready. However, if you've got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Sage Chicken & Roasted Root Vegetables with Honey Mustard Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced plus 3 whole cloves, divided

  • 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves, minced

  • 1/3 cup minced shallots

  • 1 tsp safflower oil

  • 1 5-lb whole chicken, giblets removed

  • 1 lemon, halved

ROASTED VEGETABLES:

  • 1 lb turnips, peeled, trimmed and chopped in 3/4-inch pieces

  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder

  • 1 tbsp safflower oil

  • 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 2 tsp raw honey

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small bowl combine 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, minced garlic, sage, shallots and 1 tsp oil. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, gently loosen chicken skin. Use your fingers to spread seasoning mixture under skin. Stuff whole garlic cloves and lemon halves inside chicken cavity. Tie ends of legs together with twine. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, until temperature reaches 165°F when tested with a food thermometer in thickest part, about 1 1/2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, place turnips and carrots in a large resealable plastic bag; add garlic powder, 1 tbsp oil, 3/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp salt and lemon juice. Seal bag and shake until vegetables are coated.

  3. On a foil-lined baking pan, spread vegetables in an even layer. During last 20 minutes of chicken roasting time, place pan with vegetables in oven. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mustard and honey.

  4. Remove chicken from oven and cover with foil; set aside for 15 minutes. Continue roasting vegetables for a total of 35 minutes. In last 5 minutes of roasting, sprinkle chives over vegetables.

  5. Transfer chicken to a cutting board to carve. Transfer vegetables to a bowl; drizzle in mustard mixture and toss.

Pan-Seared Eggplant with Buttermilk Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium shallot, chopped, divided

  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, plain yogurt, or crème fraîche

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped chives, divided

  • 12 ounces Japanese eggplant (about 2 small), halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise on a diagonal 1/4-inch thick

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise on a diagonal

  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves with tender stems

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add half of shallot and cook, stirring often, until tender and slightly charred and crisp around the edges, about 5 minutes; season with salt. Remove skillet from heat.

  2. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, mustard, honey, and several grinds of pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Scrape in charred shallot; reserve skillet. Add 3 Tbsp. oil and 2 Tbsp. chives and mix well. Season dressing with salt.

  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Add half of eggplant slices and arrange in a single layer; season lightly with salt. Cook, without moving, until browned underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn; cook on second side until browned and tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and repeat with remaining eggplant slices.

  4. Let eggplant cool slightly, then add cucumbers, parsley, lemon juice, half of lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp. chives to bowl. Toss well; season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in avocado.

  5. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with several spoonfuls of dressing (you don’t need to use all of it). Top with remaining lemon zest, shallot, and 1 Tbsp. chives.

 

Green Bean Salad with Radishes and Prosciutto

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

  • 8 radishes, sliced paper-thin

  • 1 3-ounce package thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into thin strips

  • 3 tablespoons aged Sherry

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 2- to 3-ounce wedge ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta cheese)

PREPARATION:

  1. Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well; cool. Toss beans, radishes, and prosciutto in large bowl.

  2. Whisk Sherry, mustard, and chives in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Toss salad with enough dressing to coat.

  3. Using vegetable peeler, shave ricotta salata in thin strips over salad.